Does this test have other names?
Hemoglobin C blood test, hemoglobin electrophoresis, Hgb electrophoresis
What is this test?
Hemoglobin C is a blood test used to find out if you have hemoglobin C disease, a
blood disorder passed on to you from your parents. It causes your red blood cells
to have hemoglobin C instead of the hemoglobin A found in most people. In the blood,
hemoglobin C forms crystals and makes the blood cells less flexible. This causes your
blood to not flow well. Hemoglobin C also causes your red blood cells to break more
easily, and they don't live as long as they should.
Hemoglobin C causes a form of hemolytic anemia, much like sickle cell anemia. This
means the red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their
normal life span is over. This can lead to a lower-than-normal number of red blood
cells in your blood.
Why do I need this test?
In the U.S., most states have mandatory screening for sickle-type hemoglobin disorders
in newborns, so many people know whether they have one of these diseases. Still, hemoglobin
C disease often has no symptoms, and some people are not diagnosed until adulthood.
Symptoms of this disorder may include joint pain, gallstones, and symptoms related
to anemia, such as tiredness, muscle and joint pain, irregular heartbeat, and other
heart problems. In these cases, a healthcare provider may test for the disease.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
Along with hemoglobin electrophoresis, which identifies the type and amount of hemoglobin
in your blood, a healthcare provider may do other blood tests. These may include a
complete blood cell count, or CBC, and iron tests.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare
How is this test done?
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your
Does this test pose any risks?
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection,
bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight
stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
What might affect my test results?
In some cases, it can be difficult to tell if a person has hemoglobin C disease or
both hemoglobin C disease and another blood disorder called thalassemia. In these
cases, blood testing of both parents may be needed to help with diagnosis.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test.